Originally published 24 April 2020
Today we commemorate the Armenian Genocide that started on April 24, 1915. During the Armenian Genocide, young Armenian men were systematically murdered by the Ottoman Empire under the Young Turks regime. The elderly, children and women were forced to walk into the Syrian desert with death and destruction as a result. This genocide killed 1.5 million people. Greeks, Assyrians and Yezidis were persecuted as well.
Many Armenians also ended up in Iraq after the genocide. One of the villages that was built is Haversk, today about a 100 Armenian families live in this village.
Eventually, a large diaspora settled in cities like Baghdad and embraced and enriched Iraqi society through trade, science, and community bonding. The Armenian language and culture also flourished. Well-known Armenians are singer Seta Hagopian also called the Iraqi Fayruz, famous doctor Krikor Astrjian and bodybuilder Jerayer Kayayan.
But did you know that Armenians have lived in Iraq since the Babylonian Empire (600 BC)? The Armenian community has always been part of Iraq's historical DNA. We can for example think of the ancient Armenian Pearl Traders of Basra or the Armenian Officials of Baghdad. Today, around 10,000 Armenians live in Iraq.